Today we launch the Agent Achievement Awards 2016, the biggest and best celebration of travel agents in the UK.
For 21 years, we have been honouring the very best agents across Britain, and this year will be no exception as more than 850 guests gather in London to see which agents are crowned.
Running the AAAs is one of the best things Travel Weekly does as it recognises the absolute heart of our readership, and presenting the trophies to the winners is certainly one of the most rewarding parts of my job.
And as I stand on stage each year, it seems the landscape in which the winning agents are excelling is getting even tougher, making their achievements even more remarkable.
In the past 12 months alone, terrorist attacks on tourists, the migrant crisis and now the Zika virus have each brought fresh challenges for those on the frontline, dealing with customers.
Yes, customers can still make a simple booking online, but agents have become more important than ever for those seeking more than just a deal.
Agents now need the very best product knowledge, the ‘secret’ inside track on destinations, resorts and properties, and also the ability to advise and reassure the public that not only are they spending their money wisely but also that they will be safe on holiday.
It’s the agents who can do all this, plus be creative and innovative to increase their sales, grow their business, and nurture and develop their teams, who will be the ones who’ll walk off with our coveted trophies on July 13.
Good luck to you all.
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